Half of me can't WAIT to find out where our next post is, and the other half of me is happy to mentally live in all six potential posts at once. I'll be sad no matter where we are assigned because we can't go to all of them. The other six-eighteenths of me is nostalgic about Moscow. Is there a word for the sweet nostalgia of knowing you are going to miss something while you are still doing it?
This summer in the car Stefan and I heard John Mayer's Half of My Heart for the first time. Stefan recognized John Mayer's voice but thought he was singing about Heffalump. I misheard the words as "I can't stop loving you with half of my arms." I sort of wish I didn't know about Jennifer Aniston so I didn't have to picture John Mayer hugging her with stumps.
Anyhoo. Where was I? Brussels? Bucharest? Oh, still in Moscow.
I'm reading A Life in Letters, a collection of Anton Chekov's letters. He's so broke he's pawning his shoes. He's in medical school and he's writing to support his parents and his sister. He sends scathing letters to his brother in which he swears his head off. Then he drinks champagne and goes for a walk around the Kremlin. He's writing and writing and writing -- he writes something like three stories a week. He goes on and on about how crucial simplicity is. Then he has to have two teeth pulled and the extraction is so painful he has a headache for four days. He writes about his hemorrhoids. It's all so immediate it's like I'm following him on Twitter. Except, of course, it's 1886.
Today, looking for items to put in the embassy newsletter I read a review of an exhibit opening of a landscape painter and I recognized the name from the A Life in Letters. Half the letters Chekov writes are to this guy, maybe his best friend, Issak Levitan. They were both obsessed with depicting atmosphere. I have to go see this show of more than 200 of his paintings at the Tretykov Gallery.
That kind of happenstance is what I will miss about Moscow with half of my arms.
Moscow News article I was reading today about Levitan and the exhibition--wish I'd written it.